Irish FA poised to ask Ipswich Town for permission to speak to Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy - Credit: Archant

The Republic of Ireland are poised to ask Ipswich Town for permission to speak to Mick McCarthy about their vacant manager’s position later this week.

McCarthy’s odds have dropped dramatically with numerous bookmakers over the last week, and the former Ireland boss has refused to rule himself out of contention for the country’s top job.

Former Leicester and Norwich boss Martin O’Neill was the Football Association of Ireland’s (FAI) hot favourite for the role but, in a dramatic twist, bookmakers have now started taking money on the Northern Irishman taking over at Portman Road, should McCarthy be granted permission and then accept a second chance to manage his country.

We understand former Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane will be given an interview by the FAI, while Dutchman Guus Hiddink remains a contender, but EADT sources in Ireland remain convinced that McCarthy is now the number one target.

The Irish FA have a strict budget of around £1m a year to spend on a new manager and any compensation would come out of that pot.

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They also have form in springing a surprise, Giovanni Trapattoni being announced as the successor to Steve Staunton in 2008, despite Terry Venables being tipped for the position.

Ipswich fans braced for the possible exit of the former Sunderland and Wolves boss have already thrown former player Tony Mowbray’s name into the ring on social networking sites after the ex-Celtic manager parted company with Championship strugglers Middlesbrough on Monday evening.

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McCarthy has continually stressed his commitment to the Portman Road cause and was in attendance at the Blues’ under-21s fixture with Bristol City on Monday evening.

He is currently planning for Saturday’s trip to the Reebok Stadium as Ipswich go searching for their first Championship away win of the season, at lowly Bolton Wanderers.

The 54-year-old took the Republic to within a penalty kick of the quarter-finals at the 2002 World Cup and when asked about a possible return last week, he said: “I’m not ruling myself in or out. It might be that I’d just like to be asked so I can say yes. It might be that I’d just like to be asked so I can say no. I haven’t been asked.”

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